When Joy Feels Inappropriate

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“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” ~Bernice Johnson Reagon

My brother died suddenly, at just 25 years old. He was gunned down in the city of Wilmington in broad daylight, a case of mistaken identity. Because he was from NY, his killer thought he was part of a NY gang and it was his mission to kill a gang member. One moment he was in the midst of a regular February day. Then one morning, he was gone. Several days later he was buried.

With things happening so fast, I found myself alternating between paralysis and intense waves of pain, anger, guilt, sorrow, and devastation. I guess we all felt this way. Only it didn’t quite look like we all did:

In between waves of sadness and silence, my children were having fun and enjoying playing outside as if nothing had happened.

It wasn’t just because they were young and didn’t quite understand what was going on. I mean, none of us could really understand this. If you’ve ever experienced a tragedy (and who hasn’t?), you know exactly what I mean.

Rather, the children were merely being themselves. They were simply going with the constantly changing flow of their emotions and expressing it spontaneously. That’s what children do.

And so they expressed the wonder of being alive as wholeheartedly and as immediately as they experienced the loss of their uncle.

We, the adults, were only able to feel and express the latter.

Does it mean that we are made of different stuff than children, then?

Not really. It’s just that most adults have great difficulties dealing with certain emotions and situations.

Joy feels inappropriate.

I’m sure you know what I mean. Whether we’re confronted by personal tragedy, an act of terror, a natural disaster, or genocide, joy just doesn’t seem to be the right response.

Even if there might be glimpses of it here and there, we fear that expressing joy might be mocking the tragedy. But that’s not necessarily true.

In fact, countless people (including myself) have experienced deep joy right in the middle of tragedy, and not just in glimpses.

Don’t get this wrong. You’re not joyful because of the tragedy. You are joyful because you are “heart-broken open,” as Kristine Carlson calls it.

In this sudden state of openness there is a sense of deep love and a degree of emotional nakedness that we don’t usually expose to each other. Being in such a space together, being so present, so connected with each other, so united across all differences, is indeed joyful, in a mellow sort of way.

And yet, many who experience such joy keep it secret, simply because it feels wrong somehow, even if nothing could be more right.

Remember, “Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” And discovering who you are includes discovering that you are all your emotions, not just some of them.

So let’s replace the idea that joy is inappropriate with something that is closer to truth!

3 Reasons to Bring Joy Back into Your Life

Reason #1: Joy is your nature.

Joy flows from the same source as love and peace; it flows from your heart.

Would you want to deny your loved ones your love and your peace? Of course not. Then please, don’t deny yourself your joy either.

Don’t push it either. When sadness comes, allow your tears to flow. When joy comes, allow your smile to shine. That’s how it is supposed to be. It’s your nature; it’s who you are.

Reason #2: Joy is your light.

Joy is the light within.

Would you want to deny your loved ones that light? Of course not. Then please, accept it for yourself as well. When it shines, you can see the path in front of you, even if just one step ahead.

One step at a time, toward light—isn’t that a fine way to respond to tragedy?

Reason #3: Joy is your power.

The deep joy flowing within you is a healing force. Its warmth has the power to melt the inner paralysis. Its energy has the power to fuel your journey toward a life in alignment with your heart’s desire.

Would you want to deny your loved ones that? Of course not. Then don’t deny yourself the power of your joy either. Because your heart’s true desire is to live, and to feel joy.

But how? After tragedy, how do you even open your heart and mind to joy?

It depends on who you are. In other words, discovering who you really are also means finding your way back to joy.

 

Love Allie💛

 

 

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How a Lack Mentality Holds You Back

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“There is a natural law of abundance which pervades the entire universe, but it will not flow through a doorway of belief in lack and limitation.” ~ Paul Zaiter

A person who lives trapped in ‘lack mindset’ lives in a fear-based world of never having enough – money, time, connections, attention, rest, health, happiness, credentials, power or love.

Their conviction of scarcity distorts and constricts their thinking and can mask talents and skills that are vital to their personal success.

Living with a perspective of lack prevents the ability to take risks and cuts off the expectation for happiness and joy in life.

Examine Your ‘Lack’ Mentality:

Explore the following questions to reveal how scarcity consciousness operates in your day-to-day experiences. How many of these questions do you say ‘yes’ to?

Are you willing to applaud and acknowledge someone else’s success or does it make you uncomfortable, resentful, judgemental or jealous of that person?

Does someone’s success only shine a light on what you don’t have?
Do you often find yourself fearful of the future and doubt your ability to prosper?
Are you sparing with compliments, support, and service to others?
Do you feel depleted of energy and inspiration and find it difficult to relax and feel refreshed?
Do you feel you must compete with others for jobs, relationships, or money…or do you trust that you will always have what you need and want?
Does your need for money, opportunity or recognition cause you to be nervous, make you afraid to make a mistake and shut down your creativity as well as your desire to work with others?
When you are faced with decision, is it difficult to see solutions and open creatively to a universe of possibilities?
Even if you are successful in an endeavor, do you feel the pressure to earn more, have more or be more than you are right now?
Do you compare yourself to others and come up less than?
Does your life feel like a constant struggle with little potential for winning?
Is your glass half–empty?
Prison Break Action Steps to Overcoming Lack Mindset:

How you think and what you believe about life determines the choices you make and governs how you ultimately act toward yourself and others. Here are a few suggestions to help shift a ‘lack’ mindset to a more inclusive, open, and abundant approach:

Be grateful and appreciate others – express gratitude for the support and contributions of others;

Seek the possibility in challenges – instead of seeing an obstacle as a dead end;

Embrace the truth that there is more than enough – there is enough for everyone including you;

Connect with abundance – Make friends and connections with those who live from a prosperous mindset rather than those who express scarcity consciousness;

Adopt a positive life perspective – see the opportunity for growth in any life challenge;

Whatever you desire, give that to others – donate money to others, spend and give attention to those who are less fortunate;

Make time for reflection and self-care – use meditation, Breathwork, journaling, and/or therapy to understand, identify and alter your ‘lack’ programming

Pay attention to your ‘lack’ influences– become aware of what TV you watch, what you read – use positive material to uplift you;

Trust that you will have what you need– spend time remembering when you received what you needed (have you ever needed a parking spot in a busy lot and one suddenly appears? Did money show up from an unexpected source just when you needed it?)

The Vital Call to Shift Lack Mindset

Perspective, belief and thought create reality. A scarcity or lack mindset sets up an ‘us against them’ mentality that feels like your safety and survival are constantly under threat.

When you are able to identify and shift that thinking and deconstruct your fear-based view of life and the world, you make a contribution toward the fulfillment of prosperity on a global scale. It opens the door to your authentic abundant nature and the joy and happiness that is your BIRTHRIGHT!

 

Love Allison 💛

7 Signs Your Friend is Jealous and What to Do about it

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One of the worst dynamics that can kill a friendship is jealousy. If one friend is jealous of the other, it inevitably can ruin the friendship, or at least negatively impact it. Sometimes, however, when a friend is jealous, and they don’t want it to show, it can come out in very strange ways that may not seem obvious to the casual observer. In order to help you identify jealousy in your friendship, here are some examples to look for:

The Slough-Off: You tell your friend some good news and instead of reacting joyfully for you, your friend sloughs it off and makes it seem as though it is not “all that.”
When people don’t feel good about where they are in their own lives, they make themselves feel better by acting as though other people’s good fortune isn’t so great or exciting.

The Friendly Ghost: When individuals are jealous, they may feel less inclined to spend time with those individuals who are happy or doing well, and as a result, disappear or become extremely busy. Why? Your happiness is a constant reminder that they are unhappy and as a result, they rather stay away.

Positive Negative: When some individuals are jealous, they may find a way to counteract your positive with a negative. This is similar to the slough-off, but instead of ignoring your positive news or accomplishment, your friend counters it with a negative. For instance, if you show a friend a beautiful picture you took of your kids, your friend may say, “Well, of course the picture is good: you had good lighting and a good camera.” Her reaction implies, in a sense, that the picture was good, not because of you, but for other reasons.

Insincere Happiness: If someone knows that they are jealous, they may try to over compensate by putting on a huge grin and acting overly happy. Unfortunately, what your friend doesn’t realize is that this type of behavior seems very unnatural and insincere.

Tears You Down: You decide that you are ready to go back to work after being a full-time, stay-at-home mom. Instead of being happy for you, your friend tells you that going back to work makes you a bad parent. If your friend constantly makes you feel bad about your decisions in life, they may be doing so to feel better about their own decisions and about themselves.

Lack of Support: This is demonstrated when you rely on friends to help you achieve something that is important to you and they fall extremely short in delivering. They can either come up with every excuse in the book as to why they can’t help you, or worse, they promise to help but don’t.

Constant Discouragement: This happens when your friend tells you all of the reasons why you shouldn’t or CAN’T do something, instead of encouraging you to “go for it.”

In general, if every time you succeed at something or have good news and your friend acts distant, strangely or dismissive, it might mean that they are jealous. Or, if you find it awkward or difficult to talk to your friend about things that make you happy or that you’re involved with, it might mean there is a little green-eyed-monster. It is important, however, to remember that if you are experiencing any of these behaviors or traits in your friendship, it may not mean the friendship is completely over. Here are a few things to consider:

Self Evaluate: First evaluate the situation and spend some time practicing self-awareness. Are you doing anything that could be intensifying feelings of jealousy? Is your friend in a bad place in his or her life? Should you be considering their feelings or be sensitive to their needs? When things are going great for us, it is sometimes easy to forget that others may not be as fortunate. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes so that you can better identify why they may be feeling the way they do.
Communicate: Open up a dialogue with your friend. If you have a sense as to why they may be feeling the way they do, let them know you understand how they must feel going through their personal challenges. Once you let them know that you are sensitive to their feelings, let them know how you feel. Explain that you are there for them, but hope that they can be happy for you, even though they are in a rough spot.
Bridge the Differences: Once everything is out on the table. Think through ways you can deal with this together. If your friend is receptive to the conversation, that is a good sign. If, however, they become defensive and point fingers instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, you may need to reevaluate the friendship.
Does jealousy exist in your friendships? How have you handled it? What was the outcome?

*http://sheerbalance.com/7-signs-your-friend-is-jealous-and-what-to-do-about-i

Are You Carrying Emotional Baggage?

Free Yourself
So, how do you eliminate your baggage once and for all?

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1. Accept Your Past For What It Is
This is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself and accept that the past cannot be changed. You need to make peace with every aspect of it so you can move forward.
2. Pay Attention To The Warning Signs
If your heart is saying one thing and your head is saying another, don’t ignore it! Take note of what is happening. In fact, make a list. When you start arguing with your ex-spouse in your head even though he or she is miles away, write it down. When you daydream about being able to say, “I told you so,” because your ex-spouse is getting another divorce, write it down. When you feel you’re not worthy, write it down. Make a practical list of your baggage so you can see it with your own eyes and it becomes real.

3. Plan Your Strategy
After you’ve identified the areas you need to work on, make a simple list of practical ways you can overcome them. It can be a positive thought to counteract a negative one… a quick prayer you say to stop the fight video playing in your head, or going to the confession more often to talk to the priest about your struggle, receive the graces you need to persevere, and feel that ugly burden lifted from your shoulders. The options are endless, and only you can determine which step will be most effective for you.
Because you’ve endured the traumatic loss of your marriage, you need to make sure you are not dating anyone with the intention of finding a cure for your hurt. If you find you are doing this, I highly encourage you to withdraw from dating until you’ve dealt with that. Taking these steps will help your heart become truly free from attachments and baggage and you will eventually be ready to give it to someone else.
One last important note… there is no formal time frame for achieving this. It will be different for everyone. You are done when you are done. And remember that this process will strengthen you; it has a sort of tempering affect. If you are honest with yourself and open your heart, this important time in your life can change you for the better and make you stronger and wiser because of the experience.

How to Release and Prevent Resentment in Your Relationships

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“Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” ~Benjamin Disraeli”

We often experience resentment toward other people when we find it hard to forgive them and hold onto unspoken pain.

Whenever we feel we’ve been treated unfairly, judged, or wronged, we have a very powerful internal reaction.

The emotions we experience are strong. We feel them intensely and deeply, because they challenge us to reassess the self-image we hold of ourselves.

The unexpressed painful emotions we experience as a result of other peoples’ actions have the potential to transform into resentment if they are not released in a healthy, effective, and timely way.

Resentment lives inside us, feeding on our negative feelings and emotions. It becomes stronger the longer it is ignored. It can mutate and develop into a warped veil, which prevents us from seeing the world from a healthy, balanced perspective.

If left unresolved, resentment has the power to be all consuming, and is very effective at fuelling anger.

In turn, unexpressed, internalized anger is a ticking time-bomb which can lead to abusive or self-destructive behavior, or a combination of both.

Resentment is a very personal and private emotion, as it has almost no effect on the person it is directed toward.

It resides with its owner, and causes negativity and pain.

Given a conducive set of circumstances and enough time, I can experience resentment on a powerful scale. I believe this is, in part, rooted in my formative years. I was brought up in a home where expressing strong, “negative” emotions was prohibited.

I grew up believing it was unacceptable to express hurt, disappointment, frustration, or anger toward the people who evoked these very emotions in me.

By the time I reached my teen years, I had unwittingly yet wholeheartedly perfected the internalization of painful emotions.

Resentment had found a comfortable home inside me, neighbored by my reluctance and fear of expressing myself.

Whenever anyone hurt me, intentionally or otherwise, I would simply deny my emotions by storing them in a box inside me labelled “deal with this later.” However, later never came. What did come was resentment toward the people who’d hurt me—that and anger.

At the time, I saw this as a kind of pay-off. “If I keep my feelings hidden and unexpressed, then I don’t have to risk jeopardizing the quality of my relationship with this person.”

In truth, I was terrified of rejection.

This fear fuelled my reluctance to express my pain to the people who’d hurt me. Ultimately, the person who I ended up hurting the most was me.

As a young adult I began to reflect; to try to understand how my behavior, reactions, and choices were affecting my overall well-being and happiness in life.

At first, I felt weak for not being able to consciously override my existing behavior patterns and simply create newer, healthier thought processes and actions.

I wanted more for myself than a life limited by my own self-imposed parameters.

It took a lot of honest and thoughtful self examination to begin to realize, understand, and accept what was preventing me from living a life free from bitterness.

After years of denying myself the full spectrum of my emotions, I resented anyone who stirred powerful, “negative” feelings inside me. My resentment toward others was intrinsically linked to my own inability to express painful emotions.

Looking back, I feel that if I had expressed myself more truthfully, I would not have clung so desperately to the resentment and anger. I also believe I would have welcomed forgiveness and been able to enjoy closer relationships with others more readily.

Everyone needs to express themselves. This is not a luxury; this is an absolute necessity.

To be fully free and completely ourselves, we must feel comfortable enough to outwardly express our emotions, whatever form they take.

If you are experiencing feelings of resentment, here are a few tips that may help you to let go and move forward:

Express yourself

When we deny our feelings, we are denying the truth. What kind of life are we living if we are not living truthfully?

Allowing ourselves to feel our full range of emotions is not only liberating and necessary, but it also helps cleanse us of negativity which we may be subconsciously holding on to.

Many of us are conditioned to see emotions as “good” and “bad.” To regard the complexity of emotions as either black or white belies the learning opportunities which are embedded and disguised in experiencing them.

For example, jealousy could be regarded as a “bad” emotion; however, if we open our minds and hearts, we could also see that this emotion is our own personal doorway to learning more about fear, trust, and connection.

When someone hurts us, intentionally or accidentally, we have a responsibility to ourselves to express our pain.

This needn’t be self indulgent or pitiful, but an understanding that it is our right to express that pain in an effective, healthy manner which helps us to let go and move forward.

The next time you experience a strong emotion such as fear, hurt, disappointment, anger, fury, or panic, try using this simple mantra:

“Right now I feel (INSERT EMOTION). I give myself permission to feel (INSERT EMOTION) because I have a right to express myself and my emotions.”

When we stop trying to control our feelings, and start embracing the colorful way in which our hearts communicate with us, life begins to teach us our most important lessons.

Communicate your feelings

It takes huge strength and courage to express and communicate our pain to the people who hurt us. In doing so, we expose our vulnerable side—the very part that we want to protect and keep safe.

But when we communicate painful emotions, we take a step outside of our comfort zone and into a wonderful learning and growth opportunity.

The next time someone’s actions hurt you, try telling them how you feel. For example, “When you raise your voice, I feel scared and disrespected,” or “When you ignore me, it makes me feel unappreciated.” Choose the right words to convey your feelings.

Try to express yourself from a calm and balanced frame of mind. Your words will have more effect if you are able to express them from a strong, healthy standpoint.

Remember that you are doing this for you. It may also help the relationship, but your main motivation for communicating and expressing your feelings is your commitment to living a truthful life, free from resentment.

Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is your own personal honor. The ability to wholly and truly forgive is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself.

Forgiveness sets you free from resentment’s confines; it breaks down the walls that anger builds and negativity reinforces.

When we forgive, we stop letting our pasts dictate our presents. We acknowledge we want the very best for ourselves; accepting that our past makes us the person we are today, and embracing that.

Letting go of resentment doesn’t necessarily lead to forgiveness, but when you embrace forgiveness, resentment ceases to exist.

When we commit to expressing ourselves fully, we become stronger, more confident, and more aware.

We cannot control what other people do, but we can control how we react. When we practice truthful living, self-expression, and forgiveness, resentment simply has no place or power in our lives.

 

Detach From The Outcome

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I read an article by Gabby Bernstein and she encourages us to “get honest with yourself right now” and asks a question. In what ways are you obsessing over an outcome?

Are you attached to something happening in the timeframe you’re comfortable with?

Are you fixated on someone doing something in the way you want?

You may be trying to control an outcome in an effort to avoid anxiety. You think that something HAS to go a certain way, and you imagine that if things don’t play out the way you want that it will be a disaster.

If we want to manifest the reality we want, we must be in an energy of detachment. We must be willing to allow and receive and we must trust in God. 💛

 

Are You Addicted To Drama?

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Do you find your relationships mirroring daytime soap operas? If you’re hooked on the adrenaline rush that comes along with the emotional roller coaster you’ve found yourself on, it might be time to get off the ride and start taking steps to be drama-free. Read on to see if you’re addicted to drama and what you can do to move on.

 

You Create Needless Drama in your Life Your partner doesn’t answer your phone call so you send countless angry text messages or perhaps your date is running a few minutes late so the first thing you do when you see him is berate him with words. Sure, your partner might have stirred up the conflict but adding fuel to the fire doesn’t help. What will your angry text messages accomplish besides provoking a negative response? What will starting off your date as the antagonist solve?

It’s not wrong to be upset that your partner didn’t call you back or is late for a date but before jumping to dramatic conclusions, take a step back and ask why he didn’t pick up the phone or was late before assuming the worst.
You Crave Attention                                        You might be using the attention, albeit negative, to affirm that you’re loved or concerned for. Think about the reaction you’re looking for and find the motivation behind what you are craving. Does a turbulent relationship give you a feeling of rush and excitement? Take the energy and excitement you get from the drama and place those feelings into improving your career, working out or taking up a new hobby.

You Can’t walk Away
Many people equate getting in the last word with winning the argument. In fact, some arguments are better put to rest at the moment, giving time for both parties to walk away and de-intensify the situation. If you find yourself letting the argument heighten, take a step back and tell your partner you’d rather take time for both of you to cool off and revisit the discussion another time, when the situation’s intense emotions have waned.

If you feel you might be addicted to drama it’s time to examine your past before you can work on your future. Take a look at the good parts of your prior relationships and what worked and what didn’t. Notice how you promoted the drama and what you can do in your next or current relationship to avoid it. In a relationship both partners should be actively trying to have most of the time they spend together to be positive and satisfying. There will be differences but if you’re choosing to provoke those occurrences or hold onto them, perhaps what you really want is the chaos and attention and not the other person.

EHarmony